Many people believe that creativity is a gift. Some people just have it or are better at it than others. At Kanban Zone, we believe that everyone has the potential to be creative, that creativity can be harnessed and developed. And you don’t have to be artistic to be creative. Creativity can be seen in the way you approach problem-solving, develop strategies, organize your work, or communicate with people. To harness your inner creative genius, we’ve created a Creative Process Kanban board to help you.

Board Columns

This board is based on the 4 stages of the creative process as articulated by Graham Wallas, a renowned English psychologist and co-founder of the London School of Economics. In his book, The Art of Thought, Wallas describes that creativity happens in 4 stages – Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, and Verification. The process is a combination of both conscious and sub-conscious events, by which ideas come to life. These 4 stages are adopted as the columns for our Creative Process board.

Normally, one would start the creative process by trying to solve a problem or having a high-level idea in mind. Take our example creative process board below where the cards illustrate ideas of a productivity coach.

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Add your ideas to the Backlog column and run it through the entire creative process. In the Preparation stage, flesh out your ideas. Research and investigate resources that can help you develop your idea or solve a problem you’ve identified.

The goal is to prepare by gathering more information about your idea and expound on it. On your Kanban cards, include all relevant details and description, attach files, and structure it to contain the sections normally used when fleshing out an idea.

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Once you’re confident about the resources you’ve gathered, move that card to the Incubation stage.

The Incubation stage is one of the sub-conscious steps in this process. You don’t need to do anything. Wallas describes this stage as a “voluntary abstention” from solving the problem at hand. This means, letting the subconscious mind process the information that you have. Think of a time when you worked on something but couldn’t seem to finish it. Out of frustration, you decided to take a break. But when you came back to your work, you suddenly had a brilliant idea on how to finish that task.

This is one of the ways that the Incubation stage kick in, by letting the idea brew.  Focus your attention on another task or something completely unrelated. The key is to take your mind away from your current task and let it incubate in your brain.

Portfolio Kanban - Reduce Overburden - Improve Flow

The Eureka Moment

On your board, you can leave cards under the Incubation stage until you experience that “Eureka!” moment. This “Eureka!” moment is called the Illumination stage, which is the subconscious thought tapping into your consciousness.

It’s this “light bulb moment” when you finally connect the dots and start answering questions formulated during the Preparation stage. Once a card is moved to this column, take note of the thoughts that came to your mind on how to implement your idea. This brings us to the last stage in the creative process called Verification.

In the Verification stage, test the idea and work on its fruition. Apply all the work that you did during the Preparation stage, coupled with the “light bulb” moments of the Incubation and Illumination stages.

Card Types

All Kanban Zone cards can be categorized with labels. In the example below, we created a card for a content productivity coach using the labels blog, book, podcast, and webinar. These cards labels are ideal for content topics.

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Categorizing your tasks makes it easier for you to identify what type of material you’re working on. It also helps you track how many of a certain task type you’re producing, in case you have targets. When you start using the Creative Process Kanban board, you can go to your Board Settings and customize the labels based on your line of work.

Creativity is for Everyone

Now, this board is not only meant to work for productivity coaches. Whether you’re a writer, an app developer, a sales consultant, a project manager, a business owner, a teacher, or whatever you do in life, you can run your ideas through the Creative Process Kanban Zone board. Solve problems, introduce new ways of working, develop strategies to lessen costs, create a new product line, or come up with a book, just by letting yourself be immersed in the Creative Process.

Are you ready to unlock your creative genius? Get started on your Creative Process board now and let us know what innovative ideas you imagine.

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Once you start visualizing your work in Kanban Zone, you will be surprised how much faster it gets done!

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About the Author: Lena Boiser

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Lena Boiser is an Agile enthusiast. Starting off her career as a Software Business Analyst in 2010, she eventually performed other roles including Project Manager and IT Business Manager. When she was immersed in Agile methodologies in 2014, Lena found her way through honing her craft and eventually became a Certified Scrum Product Owner. In 2017, after 7 years of working in the corporate world, Lena started her own remote consulting practice. Today, she provides project management and Scrum Product Ownership services to various businesses including software development companies, e-Commerce business owners, and small to medium sized companies. She believes that even teams working remotely can harness the benefits of Agile in order to deliver results for their companies. In her free time she likes to write. One day she could be writing about Agile, the next she could be writing anything about fashion or travel.